kidney infection in cats

Pyelonephritis (Kidney Infection) in Cats

Overview of Feline Pyelonephritis

Pyelonephritis is an inflammation of the kidney. We generally refer to pyelonephritis in cats as a bacterial infection of upper urinary tract including any part of the kidney.

Below is an overview of Pyelonephritis in Cats followed by in-depth detailed information about the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

General Causes of Kidney Infections in Cats

Ascending urinary tract infections (originating from the lower urinary tract) caused by bacteria
Hematogenous (from the bloodstream) seeding of infection is much less common

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Pyelonephritis in Cats

Baseline tests to include a complete blood count, biochemical profile, and urinalysis are recommended in all patients. Although often within normal limits, there may be changes consistent with kidney failure or urinary tract infection.

Additional tests may include:

Treatment of Pyelonephritis in Cats

It is most important to determine whether the patient’s condition warrants admission to the hospital for treatment or treatment at home as an outpatient. Treatment may include:

Home Care

Administer all medication and diet as directed by your veterinarian. Return for follow up as recommended and notify your veterinarian if any change is noted in your cat’s condition.

In-depth Information on Pyelonephritis in Cats

Pyelonephritis is an inflammation of the kidney, and is most often due to a bacterial infection that has made its way from the lower urinary tract (urinary bladder) to the kidney. There may be factors that enhance the susceptibility to infection such as congenital abnormalities, metabolic disorders or systemic immunosuppression; however, no underlying disorders need exist.

The clinical signs associated with pyelonephritis may be mild, or may even go unnoticed, although pyelonephritis can lead to kidney failure, sepsis (infection throughout the bloodstream) and even death, if not addressed. Depending on the specific case, certain diagnostics and therapeutics are usually recommended and tailored to each individual. Several diseases or disorders can present similarly and need to be differentiated from pyelonephritis. These include:

Diagnosis In-depth

Certain diagnostic tests must be performed to diagnose pyelonephritis definitively and to exclude other disease processes that may cause similar symptoms. A complete history, description of clinical signs, and thorough physical examination are all an important part of obtaining a presumptive (probable) diagnosis of pyelonephritis. In addition, the following tests are recommended:

Your veterinarian may recommend additional tests to exclude or diagnose concurrent conditions. These tests are not always necessary in every case, although they may be of benefit in certain individuals, and are selected on a case-by-case basis. These include:

Therapy In-depth

Follow-up Care for Cats with Pyelonephritis

Optimal treatment for your cat requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your cat does not rapidly improve.

Unresolved pyelonephritis may lead to kidney failure; therefore, diagnostic follow-up is important to document the resolution of pyelonephritis. Administer all prescribed medication as directed. Alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your cat.

Repeat the urine culture and urinalysis approximately seven to ten days into treatment, and one to two weeks after the entire course of treatment has been completed. It is important to obtain urine cultures every two to three months until three negative cultures are obtained. If at any point the culture is positive, an additional course of antibiotics, often longer than the original course, is generally recommended. Infection may persist in some animals despite appropriate, repeated courses of antibiotics.